Terrifying waiting lists

Feeling low today. Consultation with lovely new surgeon on Tuesday, huge improvement on previous experiences, but this latest lockdown has caused even more havoc with waiting times. Currently 10 months since diagnosis and put on waiting list for THR. Consultation in November said waiting list for THR was 8 months, ie May 2021. 3 months later, it's gone up to 12-18 months, ie Feb 2022-Sept 2022., despite me telling him I'm self-employed and on the verge of being unable to do my job and unable to get out for a walk other than short shopping trips. So after another 18 months I will have been waiting nearly 3 years for surgery. A friend was recently diagnosed with OA in hip and has been offered NHS surgery at our local hospital in 4 months, although my surgeon said it's likely her date will keep getting knocked back.

Nevertheless, was up ladders etc uesterday for work knowing I'd pay for it afterwards. Now I am. First day of needing my stick just to get around the house, never mind outside. Hardly slept with the pain, despite being exhausted.

I've paid out absolutely ruinous sums to HMRC in taxes lhis month, also for business insurance (despite my workload more than halving due to lockdown) and my car broke down yesterday out of the blue, and got towed away for expensive repairs. Paying to go privately doesn't feel like an option, but more to the point, having waited this long for NHS surgery, I'm loathe to pay out five figures to get an op that is offered for free. I won't be able to get out at all if I have to wait for the NHS, and will have to take early retirement, but I can't afford to retire yet and had hoped to keep going for another 2-3 years at least.

Life is just pants sometimes.


  • Lilymary it is a terrible situation to be in. When I had an accident a few months ago and was unable to bear weight at all I really thought the time had come for a hip replacement (there is significant osteoarthritis in my hip). After a visit to A & E and then eventually paying a private physio who diagnosed synovitis and damage to a muscle which runs across the top of the thigh (tensor fascia latta or something like that) and gave me a programme to follow it all settled down in the end and I am now able to do my 10,000 steps a day doing Nordic Walking. I have also started the Let's Move sessions and as long as I am careful I can do the exercises so far. I used to do a lot of aerobics and work out in the gym but sadly my days of bouncing up and down in aerobics classes are over and gyms are closed.

    At the time I was in such pain and so limited I was desperate enough to have paid for hip replacement as I felt my whole life had been taken away from me. The doctors would not refer me. I am not wealthy and at 69 I am still working but to me health doesn't have a price.

    I think if I were you rather than wait for who knows how long I would pay. If you weigh up the cost of of possibly having to take early retirement against the cost of the operation it may not sound quite so bad. Also it would give you back your freedom to do go about your daily life again. I know it is very annoying to have to pay and I would have had to take a deep breath before committing to a private operation but I find that I have to have a replacement I would pay rather than wait and wait for the NHS to offer the chance. Good luck with it and I hope you can find some relief.

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 28,342

    Oh Lilymary😕

    I am so sorry you sound so down for you. The car, the consultation (even if we do like this new surgeon) needing your stick and being in such pain are all taking it's toll on our usually upbeat friend!

    How I wish I could solve this for you. This pandemic has really caused havoc and until it's back under control I can't see it being able to improve. I think there are still more people in hospital with COVID than there were in April last year at the previous peak.

    I do know people who have paid to have their surgery done privately and had good outcomes a few to be fair and in normal circumstances am a staunch believer in not 'jumping queues'. If anyone can afford to pay I would now understand completely.

    You take care. Do your very best to stay off ladders and (((()))) for you from me

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    I am sorry that you are in the situation you are Lilymary and hope that you find a way out of it as soon as possible. What I find absolutely despicable is that if you go private 9 times out of 10 you will get the same surgeon that you would have done under the NHS. I think that in these times of Covid and an ever increasing number of arthritis sufferers who are having their operations put back and back, that these highly trained (by the NHS) and highly paid (by the NHS) Consultants should be encouraged somehow into providing the essential hip and knee replacements to us ordinary people who cannot afford to go private. Consultants earn a basic salary of £110,683 per year and may apply for Clinical Excellence Awards on top of that which can amount to another £77,000 plus whatever they can earn privately.

  • Sylvia1
    Sylvia1 Member Posts: 5

    I am 72 and live alone on my pensions. The only way I can afford to pay for my knee replacement is to sell my bungalow which I am not willing to do as all my friends and my son live locally. It would really help if we were given any idea just how long we have to wait instead of a vague 2 to 3 years and then expected to sit back and wait. A 3 monthly update would be nice instead of being totally abandoned. I have finally managed to get on an Escape Pain cause run by local physios. The whole physiotherapy unit have been amazing and the only people who seem genuinely sympathetic and helpful and will actually see me face to face instead of the dreaded phonecall

    I am trying to manage as well as I can and try to continue my main hobbies...walking and gardening.. not easy when I rely on walking polesfor even short walks and cannot kneel at all.. How do other people deal with pain control? I find any codiene based lpills make me constipated and am warned not to take ibuprofen because of side effects.

  • Sylvia1
    Sylvia1 Member Posts: 5

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 28,342

    Gosh @Sylvia1

    no way should you have to sell your bungalow!! I totally agree with you they should update us and say just let us know roughly how long at least every 3-6 months.

    Codeiny type meds do have that problem, but for me a small glass of prune juice every day is enough to keep things moving as they should😳

    I'm so glad you have a great physio team there at least and now you have us lot too😊

    Take care

    Toni xx

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,712

    Hi @Sylvia1 , I would suggest you request reviews with your GP if you feel your pain and/or your mobility are getting worse. OA can deteriorate suddenly and rapidly, as it did in my case. If your GP isn’t aware of changes in your mobility, they can’t update your referral and possibly reprioritise if necessary, or help with pain management.

    I was on cocodamol which did result in awful constipation but I took movicol (or similar) to soften the stools and sennakot to keep the gut moving. Your GP can prescribe the Movicol. There’s no way. I could have got around at all without the cocodamol, and managing the constipation was a price worth paying. I was also on naproxen, and was prescribed omeprazole to manage the effects on my tummy. I know GPs have to take into account any other medications we are on, so it’s not one size fits all with pain meds. If the pain gets beyond help with meds, ask to be referred to a pain clinic.

    It also helps to have a bit more in your armoury, and I found some of the tips in this link really helpful.

    Meanwhile keep on with the physio and exercise as much as you feel able, it will all help your muscles support your worn joints, and stop you seizing up, and it will aid your recovery lost op, and your mental health right now. I hope this helps.

    I agree with @frogmorton , selling your home seems too drastic a remedy, but mentioning to your GP that you are even considering this might demonstrate just how desperate you are getting. I understand waiting lists are coming down (relative to during the pandemic) but it can seem a very long tunnel before there’s any light at the end. Keep coming on here for tips or just for a moan or a natter, we all know how rubbish this can get. Xx

  • Sylvia1
    Sylvia1 Member Posts: 5

    Thanks for your comments and advice. I am so glad I have found this online group and people who really understand the problems of waiting for so called " unessential surgery." It may not be life threatening but is definitely life changing. It is so frustrating knowing that there are surgeons and operating theatres available but, because of the lack of beds, operations cannot go ahead. I am so lucky living in a beautiful part of the country with my children and grandchildren near and good friends when I need them but feel so sorry for the many people waiting for treatment who may live alone and have no family near. I have no idea what the answer is but something drastic needs to happen to speed up the waiting times. Anyway....rant over. Take care of yourselves everyone and try to keep smiling!!!!